Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month

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By Nurse Diane

This past February an acquaintance of my son's wife became ill.  He has been experiencing stomach pains, and they didn't go away.  He went to the emergency room at his local hospital, where he was diagnosed with strep throat.  The pain didn't go away, and he returned to be diagnosed with mononucleosis, and possible flu.  This would not be the case either, and his urine turned a dark orange color.  After more testing he was again treated for Mono, but this time the scan was read by another doctor who discovered a mass in his pancreas.  Two days later he was diagnosed with liver cancer after the results from a biopsy were obtained, and within 5 months he had passed away - shortly before his 16th birthday.

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On the 8th of August, a classmate of a friend of mine started her first day of kindergarten.  She had been having some headaches, and throwing up in the mornings before school.  Her mom just concluded that it was nerves because of starting school.  A trip to her doctor resulted in a brain scan that found a brain tumor.  She was transported to a children's hospital in Jackson, where the tumor was removed, biopsy showed the tumor was cancerous.

Cancer can find its way into anybody at any age and for any reason.  September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.  Below is a portion of the Presidential Proclamation declaring this awareness:
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Every year, thousands of children across America are diagnosed with cancer an often life threatening illness that remains the leading cause of death by disease for children under the age of 15. The causes of pediatric cancer are still largely unknown, and though new discoveries are resulting in new treatments, this heartbreaking disease continues to scar families and communities in ways that may never fully heal. This month, we remember the young lives taken too soon, stand with the families facing childhood cancer today, and rededicate ourselves to combating this terrible illness. While much remains to be done, our Nation has come far in the fight to understand, treat, and control childhood cancer. Thanks to ongoing advances in research and treatment, the 5 year survival rate for all childhood cancers has climbed from less than 50 percent to 80 percent over the past several decades. Researchers around the world continue to pioneer new therapies and explore the root causes of the disease, driving progress that could reveal cures or improved outcomes for patients. But despite the gains we have made, help still does not come soon enough for many of our sons and daughters, and too many families suffer pain and devastating loss. My Administration will continue to support families battling pediatric cancer and work to ease the burdens they face. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can no longer deny health coverage to children because of preexisting conditions, including cancer, nor can they drop coverage because a child is diagnosed with cancer. The law also bans insurers from placing a lifetime dollar limit on the amount of coverage they provide, giving families peace of mind that their coverage will be there when they need it most. And as we work to ensure all Americans have access to affordable health care, my Administration will continue to invest in the cutting edge cancer research that paves the way for tomorrow's breakthroughs. This month, we pay tribute to the families, friends, professionals, and communities who lend their strength to children fighting pediatric cancer. May their courage and commitment continue to move us toward new cures, healthier outcomes, and a brighter future for America's youth.

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To learn more about ways you can help, please visit this site and keep those who are affected in your thoughts and prayers.

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